A Randomized, Double-blinded, Placebo-controlled Trial of Sitagliptin for Reducing Inflammation and Immune Activation in Treated and Suppressed Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection

Clin Infect Dis. 2019 Sep 13;69(7):1165-1172. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciy1051.


Background: Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors have pleotropic anti-inflammatory and immune regulatory effects in addition to glucoregulation. We evaluated inflammation and immune markers in suppressed human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection during treatment with the DPP-4 inhibitor sitagliptin.

Methods: Virologically suppressed adults with HIV without diabetes on stable antiretroviral therapy (ART) with ≥100/μL CD4 cells were randomized to 16 weeks of sitagliptin 100 mg/day vs placebo in a multicenter trial. The primary endpoint was the change in plasma soluble CD14 (sCD14) from baseline to week 15-16.

Results: Ninety participants were randomized, and 42 from each arm were included in per-protocol analyses. Participants were 45% non-Hispanic white, 38% non-Hispanic black, and 15% Hispanic, with a median age of 51 years; 83% were male; and the median CD4 count was 602 cells/μL. At week 15-16, there was no difference in sCD14 change between the 2 arms (P = .69). Relative to placebo, the sitagliptin arm had 47% greater decline in CXCL10 (95% confidence interval, -57% to -35%) at week 15 (P < .001). There were no significant between-arm differences in other soluble biomarkers, total CD4 and CD8 counts, or markers of lymphocyte or monocyte activation. Sitagliptin was well tolerated.

Conclusions: Sixteen weeks of sitagliptin had no effect on sCD14 levels in virologically suppressed participants with HIV. CXCL10, a chemokine involved in atherogenesis that predicts non-AIDS events during ART, declined markedly with sitagliptin. This suggests that DPP-4 inhibition has the potential to reduce cardiovascular morbidity in treated HIV infection.

Clinical trials registration: NCT01426438.

Keywords: CXCL10; HIV; dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor; inflammation; soluble CD14.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active
  • Biomarkers
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Female
  • HIV / drug effects*
  • HIV / immunology
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV Infections / metabolism
  • HIV Infections / virology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / administration & dosage
  • Immunologic Factors / adverse effects
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sitagliptin Phosphate / administration & dosage
  • Sitagliptin Phosphate / adverse effects
  • Sitagliptin Phosphate / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Viral Load


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Sitagliptin Phosphate

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01426438